A Landscape Painting of The Lone Cypress

landscape painting

“The Lone Cypress”, Craig Shillam, Oil/Canvas, 12″ x 16″

A Landscape Painting Featuring The Lone Cypress

Why paint a landscape painting of The Lone Cypress? After all it is probably the most photographed tree in the world, and almost everybody has seen it before.  So why do it then? I painted this particular subject for three reasons…

3 Reasons for a Landscape Painting of The Lone Cypress

  1. I had always wanted to see that particular tree in person and I was finally able to do so. It was fantastic in person, and so much better than a photograph or painting could portray. I just felt compelled to do it. It is so unique and poetic sitting out there on that rock formation.
  2. I am painting a series of landscape paintings from a great west coast road trip, and I didn’t think the series would be complete without it. This is the second painting in the series, the first painting in the series is here.
  3. The third reason, the reason that was the icing on the cake, was the fact that there was a sign saying that the tree was trademarked by the Pebble Beach Corp., and there should be no commercial use of the tree in any way (Paraphrasing).  I didn’t know you could trademark a tree and control who takes photos or who paints a landscape painting of it and puts it in a gallery or on-line for sale.

    landscape painting

    Information sign near The Lone Cypress

The Lone Cypress is located along the 17-Mile Drive near Pebble Beach, California.  There is no doubt that somebody has taken a lot of time and spent a lot of money keeping the tree in good shape. There are many reinforcement stones around the tree itself, there is a parking lot, hand rails, and signs. If a private company who owns the land has spent the money and time to keep the tree in good shape, I could see why they would want to trademark and control the use of The Lone Cypress. But it just doesn’t seem right that the implication was that I could not paint a landscape painting of the tree and sell it without their permission.  Maybe I’m off base and maybe I don’t know the whole story, but I did the painting just the same, and at the time I am writing this, it’s in a gallery.


For this particular landscape painting I took several photographs, as I did not have the time to set up and paint on the spot, which would have been absolutely awesome. For all I know there is probably some kind of permit required to do that. One thing I did not expect to see was all the kelp in the water. I did not know about the kelp, it’s not really ideal to look at, but it is very interesting. Here’s an interesting website on the kelp forest in Carmel Bay. I attempted to indicate the kelp in the water, but I think if someone was looking at this painting in person and didn’t know about the kelp, they might wonder what all that brown in the water was about.

As for this particular landscape painting, the color palette consists of Olive-Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Indian Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Cad Red Deep, Raw Sienna, Cad Yellow, Titanium White, and Mars Black.  The painting was painted starting with the background first and moving forward. I used a lot of palette knife on the rocks, especially in the lighter areas. It has been a goal of mine to use the palette knife a lot more often. It is fun and the effects are unique. The last time I used a palette knife this much was on “The Liberty Barn.”

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